New Search Patents: June 22, 2006 – Google File System, Microsoft Blocks, and Yahoo Autonotifications

Google patents the Google File System, Microsoft claims a Functional Object Model for mobile devices, and Yahoo! (Overture) describes an autonotification process to inform advertisers of when a certain condition has been met concerning one of their ads.


The authors of a paper on the Google File System (pdf) are listed as the inventors of this patent filing. Another similarity between the two documents is that both cite mostly the same reference documents. The patent and paper appear to cover much of the same ground. This looks like the patent for the Google File System.

Leasing scheme for data-modifying operations
Invented by Sanjay Ghemawat, Howard Gobioff, and Shun-Tak Leung
Assigned to Google
US Patent 7,065,618
Granted on June 20, 2006
Filed on June 30, 2003


A system may facilitate performance of a data-modifying operation in a file network that includes multiple servers that store replicas of data. One of the servers may serve as a primary replica for one of the replicas of data and at least one other one of the servers may serve as at least one secondary replica for the replica of data. The system may send data associated with the data-modifying operation to the primary replica and the at least one secondary replica based on a network topology and independently send a data-modifying control signal that requests execution of the data-modifying operation using the data associated with the data-modifying operation to the primary replica and the at least one secondary replica.


When presenting a web page on a mobile device, it’s sometimes best not to display the whole page. But trying to decide which parts to show, and which not to display can be difficult. More information is sometimes needed about the web page.

Microsoft has been experimenting with ways to identify what different parts of a web page do based upon the layout and functions of parts of pages, and a paper from Microsoft that has seen some popularity recently on this type of analysis has been one on Block-level Link Analysis (pdf).

It wasn’t a surprise to see Wei-Ying Ma’s name on this patent application, as one of the authors of that paper, and an earlier paper on VIPS: a Vision-based Page Segmentation Algorithm.

Another Wei-Ying Ma paper on that topic is Efficient Browsing of Web Search Results on Mobile Devices Based on Block Importance Model (pdf). It cites a function based analysis like the one described in this patent, and points to a document that explains some of the concepts – Function-Based Object Model Towards Website Adaptation (pdf). The other inventor listed in this patent, Jin-Lin Chen, is one of the authors of that paper. Taking a look at those papers may make understanding this patent easier.

Segmenting and indexing web pages using function-based object models
Invented by Jin-Lin Chen and Wei-Ying Ma
Assigned to Microsoft
US Patent 7,065,707
Granted on June 20, 2006
Filed on June 24, 2002


By understanding a website author’s intention through an analysis of the function of a website, website content can be adapted for presentation or rendering in a manner that more closely appreciates and respects the function behind the website. A website’s function is analyzed so that its content can be adapted to different client environments. A function-based object model (FOM) identifies objects associated with a website, and analyzes those objects in terms of their functions. Desktop oriented websites are adapted for mobile devices based on the FOM and on a mobile control intermediary language. While the FOM attempts to understand a website author’s intention based on functional analysis of web content, the mobile control intermediary language enables the author to create web content that can be presented in various mobile devices by processing the objects, by extracting forms from the objects, and by generating a file in the mobile control intermediary language for each form.


This patent describes an autonotification system, enabling automated messages to be sent to an advertiser regarding their paid search listings when certain pre-defined conditions are met. Here are the areas those conditions listed in the patent encompass:

  1. Position: related to the position of a listing,
  2. Cost: related to the accumulated costs for some listings,
  3. Account-balance: related to the funds remaining in advertiser’s account (e.g., to pay for listings that are clicked on),
  4. Impressions: the number of impressions received by some listings,
  5. Clicks: the number of clicks received by some listings,
  6. CTR: the click through rate of some listings,
  7. CPC-too-high: if the cost per click (CPC) of a listing can be reduced without impacting its rank,
  8. Average CPC too high: the average CPC, the total cost divided by the total clicks, is higher than some threshold,
  9. Rank-CPC: related to the CPC for a given rank and term.

Automatic advertiser notification for a system for providing place and price protection in a search result list generated by a computer network search engine
Invented by Narinder Pal Singh, Scott W. Snell, Douglas T. Huffman, Darren J. Davis, Thomas A. Soulanille, and Dominic Dough-Ming Cheung.
Assigned to Overture Services, Inc.
US Patent 7,065,500
Granted on June 20, 2006
Filed on September 26, 2001


A notification method in a computer database system includes receiving a notification instruction from an owner associated with a search listing stored in the computer database system, monitoring conditions specified by the notification instruction for the search listing, and sending a notification to the owner upon detection of a changed condition of the search listing.

My usual reminder about patents: Some of the processes and technology described in patents are created in house, and some are developed with the assistance of contractors and partners. A percentage are never developed in a tangible manner, but may serve as a way to attempt to exclude others from using the technology, or even to possibly mislead competitors into exploring an area that they might not have an interest in (sometimes skepticism is good.)

There are times when a Google or Yahoo acquires a company to gain access to the intellectual property of that company, or the intellectual prowess and expertise of that company’s employees. And sometimes patents are just purchased.

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